Stefanik, Cobb call for transparency on Ukraine call
Stefanik opposes impeachment; Cobb doesn’t say
U.S. Rep. Elise Stefanik and her 2020 Democratic opponent Tedra Cobb released statements on the presidential impeachment inquiry Congress opened Tuesday, expressing a shared desire for “transparency.”
Stefanik also took a stand opposing impeachment of President Donald Trump. Cobb’s statement did not take a position on impeachment.
Both declined to be interviewed by the Enterprise.
The impeachment inquiry is the result of a complaint filed with Michael Atkinson, who holds the role of inspector general of the intelligence community, about a July phone conversation between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, in which the unnamed whistleblower alleges Trump made “certain representations concerning U.S. policy” that the whistleblower “found troubling.”
Stefanik and Cobb both requested transparency and cooperation from the White House and the director of national intelligence. Stefanik called for the whistleblower complaint, which she has read as a member of the House Intelligence Committee, to be released to the public. Cobb said the complaint should be released to Congress, along with related documents.
“I do not support impeachment of President Trump,” Stefanik wrote on Twitter Wednesday evening. “I have just read the whistleblower complaint made available to House Intelligence Committee Members. I believe strongly in transparency and it should be immediately declassified and made public for the American people to read.”
Stefanik’s earlier written statement said, “I support the President’s decision to release the entire transcript of his call with the Ukrainian President to the American public.”
The document released by the White House Wednesday is a memorandum, not a transcript. It comes with a caution that “A Memorandum of a Telephone Conversation … is not a verbatim transcript of a discussion.” Rather, it a collection of written notes and remembrances from people assigned to listen to the conversation.
Stefanik also took the opportunity to pose the impeachment question to Cobb.
“The real question is where does my opponent — failed, far left candidate Taxin’ Tedra Cobb — stand on the impeachment of President Trump given today’s announcement of support by Democratic Leadership?” Stefanik wrote in a statement.
Cobb released a statement Wednesday saying, “The White House must take every step to ensure transparency and cooperate so Congress has all the facts to fully investigate. The whistleblower complaint must be released to Congress in full, along with all relevant documents and communications, and the Director of National Intelligence must be allowed to testify freely.”
She also said Congress must focus on other issues while it proceeds with the impeachment process.
“Investigating this matter of national security, however, does not absolve Congress from working on the issues it has to address: providing access to quality and affordable healthcare and reducing the cost of prescription drugs, rebuilding our infrastructure, protecting our environment, and safeguarding Social Security and Medicare,” Cobb said.
Stefanik first made a statement on the whistleblower complaint last week, asking for Congress to see it.
“There has been bipartisan support to make sure we are following the statute, which is if there is a whistleblower complaint that should be referred to Congress, if the IG finds it credible,” she told the Times Union after participating in a closed-door committee meeting on the complaint last Thursday. “So I think we should make sure we are following the letter of the law and Congress’s intent, which is to notify Congress.”
Acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire has thus far not shared any information and on Wednesday threatened to resign, amid concerns the White House wouldn’t allow him to share information with Congress when he is set to testify today.